Baxter pharmaceutical firm to invest in Turkey

Baxter pharmaceutical firm to invest in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Baxter pharmaceutical firm to invest in Turkey

Turkey’s Industry Minister Nihat Ergün (R) meets with top leaders from global pharmaceutical firms on June 19 at the International Biotechnology Fair in Boston US. AA photo

The U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Baxter is preparing to invest $180 million in Turkey to develop a new drug aimed at boosting the immune system, according to Turkey’s Industry Minister Nihat Ergün, who attended the International Biotechnology Fair in Boston on June 19. Ergün and his delegation attended the fair for the first time. The fair attracts over 15,000 representatives from 65 different countries.

Ergün said that Baxter, a firm which achieved close to $14 billion in pharmaceutical sales in 2011, is interested in developing a drug that would be given to kidney dialysis patients at home before they go for dialysis. “The development of such a drug is on the agenda. It is possible to expand this system. Turkey has a large number of dialysis patients,” said Ergün.

Ergün noted that the government’s goal going forward is to encourage pharmaceutical firms to invest in research and development (R&D) and production in Turkey as opposed to price negotiations.

Focus on R&D, production

“The government has a $10 billion purchasing capability. From now on, instead of trying to lower drug prices, we will use our purchasing capacity towards companies that are interested in production and R&D in Turkey,” he said.

The government is also currently working on plans to develop a special industrial zone in Turkey for pharmaceutical firms, according to Ergün.

“This will be a special zone for R&D, where special incentive schemes will be applied. This could be for biotechnology firms. Just like in Ceyhan, which houses only energy firms, this would be similar model for biotech firms,” Ergün said.

Meanwhile, Turkish pharmaceutial leader Abdi İbrahim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Candan Karabağlı, who also spoke at the fair, said that in the coming period the real driver of growth would be in the biotech pharmaceutical market. Karabağlı noted that the pharmaceutical market which was close to $850 billion would reach $1.1 trillion by 2015. “I believe Turkey is going to be one of the propellers of this growth in the developing world. In fact, the “pharmaemerging countries” of Turkey, China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and South Korea will increase their stake in the pharmaceutical sector from 18 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2015,” she said. According to Karabağlı Turkey is Europe’s sixth largest pharmaceutical market and 14th in the world.

As of 2011, the Turkish pharmaceutical sector had a turnover of $9.1 billion and 11 percent of this was comprised of biotech products, according to Karabağlı. Karabağlı also believes that Turkey’s
new incentive scheme will be a huge asset and driver of growth in the biotech sector.